The history of same-sex marriage in California is long and involves several court cases, rulings and even a constitutional amendment. It is important for many same-sex partners living in California to understand the current status of the law and the family law options it affords them. Same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the United States and has been settled in California for several years.
In addition to same sex marriages, which are now legal and afford the same benefits and protections as other marriages been opposite sex partners, domestic partnerships can also be a common arrangement between same-sex partners and some opposite sex partners as well. While marriage is perhaps more commonly understood in a general context, domestic partnerships have certain requirements that must be met for a domestic partnership to be legal.
A domestic partnership is considered, in general, an intimate and committed relationship between two adults. There are several requirements for a domestic partnership including both parties filing a "Declaration of Domestic Partnership," both parties sharing a residence, neither party being married to another party or in a domestic partnership with another party the has not been dissolved or terminated, the parties are not related so that they would be precluded from marrying, both parties are at least 18, the parties are the same sex or at least one is over the age of 62 and both parties have consented to the domestic partnership.
In California, when a couple decides to end a marriage or domestic partnership the marriage or domestic partnership dissolution process is available and the family law process can help couples address important, related, concerns such as property division, spousal or partner support, child support and child custody concerns when applicable. Same-sex partners in California now enjoy marriage rights and are able to decide to enter or end a relationship with the help of the family law legal process.
Source: Statelaws.findlaw.com, "California Same Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnership Laws," Accessed May 6, 2016